The Oceania Road Championships gets started this week as riders nationwide and across the Tasman Sea gather in Canberra to contest the final round of the Oceania Tour. Orica GreenEdge’s Cameron Meyer headlines the elite men’s category after recovering from surgery and will line-up for the time trial and road race while Ladies Tour of Qatar stage winner Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products) makes a brief stop-over from her European campaign to contest the elite women’s road race.
Racing will commence on Thursday with the time trial before riders take a rest day on Friday ahead of the weekend’s road races. Reigning Oceania elite time trial champion Sam Horgan has made his way over from New Zealand in search of a back-to-back title while Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers’ Joe Cooper will seek to add the Oceania crown to the New Zealand national TT title he claimed earlier in the year.
Meyer will headline the men’s road race that also includes the highly competitive under-23 field and will receive stiff competition from a number of domestic and Kiwi riders. Current Oceania road champion Paul Odlin will line up for the 153km race and will need to remain attentive against the three-pronged attack from Drapac Professional Cycling Team’s Will Walker, Darren Lapthorne and Luke Davison.
Canberra resident Hosking had returned to Australia to contest the championships and hopes to have the opportunity to contest the finale in Saturday’s 102km road race, where she is a genuine contender if it comes down to a bunch sprint. However, she will be challenged on the difficult course by the likes of Ruth Corset, Grace Sulzberger and Carla Ryan amongst others.
Yes, I would usually be in Europe at this time of year racing with my professional team Hitec-Products," said Hosking.
"But with the Championships in my home town, it was an easy decision. I'm not so sure I’ll have home ground advantage however as from what I've heard the course is really tough.
"Hopefully my jet lag has subsided by Saturday," Hosking added.
The freshly-launched Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy will debut at the championships and will no doubt be one of the teams to watch in the U23 category. Damian Howson, Alex Edmondson, Alex Morgan and upcoming sensation Caleb Ewan are just a few of the riders who will make up the U23 men’s field while Adam Phelan, Bradley Linfield and a cast of other who will also look to feature in the race.
Jayco Herald Sun Tour stage winner Aaron Donnelly and teammates Campbell Flakemore and Jack Beckinsale will line-up for the combined elite and U23 race while search2retain’s Eric Sheppard, who took home a silver medal at the 2012 Australian U23 road race could also ride well on the hilly course.
The full 2013 Oceania Road Race Championships schedule can be found here.